I am thrilled to announce I was asked to join the Jamaica Tourism Board for a week long event of site inspections and exploration, running November 13-20, 2021. The last agent-only familiarization trip I took was two months ago to Dominican Republic for two weeks, and I learned so much; again I look forward to exploring a new country and all Jamaica and the resorts have to offer.
Q. Why do travel agents go on familiarization trips?
A. First, it is an incredible opportunity to me to learn firsthand about the resorts and what they have to offer my clients. When someone comes to me wanting to get away, not terribly sure on where to go or what resort would suit them best, having visited numerous resorts gives me obvious insight you wouldn't otherwise get in any other way. Based on my experience I can advise clients of locations they may not have thought of, resorts they would be open to, and room categories that would best suit their needs. Second, it is an educational opportunity into the product, the location, and all both have to offer. Finally, agent trips help with building my network of trusted advisors. If there is a location a client is interested in that I by chance have not been to before, I know there are trusted colleagues who are a phone call away who have been and can answer even the smallest of questions.
Q. Are the trips free for agents?
A. No! For my business to remain competitive, I invest both time and money into its growth for optimal success.
Q. Do you have to follow the same COVID requirements as everyone else?
A. Yes! Agents actually follow them a little more strictly since we are in groups and the masks rarely come off. I too must be prepared with the numerous documents required for many different destinations I travel to. Having experienced the document and testing requirements first hand, I can relay to my clients exactly what is required. This peace of mind for my clients is so valuable!
Q. Does it cost anymore to book with an agent since COVID began?
A. Travel agencies, whether home-based or retail, have overhead: rent, wages, consortium and insurance fees, and the opportunity for exploration via familiarization trips is one that can not be overlooked. Since COVID appeared, a lot of agencies have opted to charge a planning fee up front. Wood Travel has recently implemented this as well, however when we book and you leave on your vacation, we refund your planning fee as a way to thank you for realizing the benefits of working with a travel agent and for booking with us. Using a travel agent really does not cost any more than booking on your own!
Q. I enjoy booking my trips myself. Why would I use an agent?
A. Some people are very happy booking trips on their own, we understand that! If you want to figure out the exact itinerary that suits you, and come to an agent to book it, that would be great since you get to do what you love to do too, and you come to an agent for all the things that aren't so fun (paperwork, regulations and requirements, waiting on the phone when changes or cancellations occur, etc)! Do you know exactly what the requirements are for your departing country/arriving country/ and re-entry back into your home country, and the timing for each (as they are ever changing!)? We do! Are you completely confident that your entire vacation will go off without one glitch, and should something happen, are you confident you can handle it on you own? Working with an agent gives you peace of mind - an additional (free!) insurance policy if you will! - as you can contact Wood Travel with any concerns you are experiencing, and we will work from our office, contacting resorts and tour operators, to make it right for you.
As the world of COVID reared its ugly head twenty months ago, travel has experienced exponential change. Every agent I have spoken with describes familiar stories of 'working for free', undoing sometimes years of planning and forgoing a paycheck all for one purpose - to keep our clients best interests and financial investment in tact. A happy client is a returning client, and I am so fortunate to have my followers!
Be sure to like and follow the following social media platforms for updates on beautiful Jamaican locations coming soon!!!